Ninth Biennial Open Forum for Graduate Students

(Un)Known Spaces: Perceived and Intangible Landscapes
February 19-21, 2010
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Dr. Wendy Ashmore, University of California, Riverside
Organized by the Graduate Student Association of the
Department of Archaeology at Boston University
In recent years, increasingly refined methodological and theoretical paradigms along with new technology have added to the robust and productive character of archaeological landscape studies. Moreover, researchers from many disciplines are turning their attention toward landscapes that are conceptual and ephemeral in nature. Landscapes are formed when people perceive and experience the world around them, filling the space with intangible qualities that reflect and construct individual and collective values, identities and practices. In studying intangible landscapes, researchers are probing the diverse frameworks through which we can construct the ancient and modern world around us. These landscapes are not static and dormant entities, but understood to be dynamic, active palimpsests that can be studied through a plurality of theoretical and methodological approaches. Landscapes of memory, sacred landscapes, and landscapes of national or international heritage are just a few examples of this developing line of inquiry that have generated interest across multiple disciplines.
The study of these kinds of landscapes raises many questions for scholars. How do the people who dwell within landscapes understand and interact with them? What are the consequences of the multiple layers and meanings specific spaces and landscapes can contain, and to what degree can modern researchers and archaeologists come to understand these places in past contexts? Will innovative techniques combining creative uses of technology with a multidisciplinary approach be crucial in making these intangible landscapes tangible?

The Graduate Student Association of the Department of Archaeology at Boston University invites you to present and debate your ideas on this theme at the Ninth Biennial Graduate Student Conference on February 19-21, 2010. The conference is intended to provide a forum on these and related issues in Archaeology, as well as other interested fields including but not limited to Anthropology, Art History, American Studies, Architectural History, Near Eastern Studies, Geography, Geology and Classics. The conference will conclude with a round table discussion, including our keynote speaker, addressing the current state of, and future possibilities for, the archaeological study of intangible landscapes. Topics for papers might include, but are not limited to:

  • Using GIS to study intangible landscapes
  • Nocturnal landscapes
  • The creation of landscapes through practice
  • Intangible landscapes and placemaking
  • The creation of archaeological landscapes
  • Landscapes and the law
  • Visualizing and documenting landscapes
  • Public and political landscapes
  • Surveying landscapes of perception and meaning

Papers are limited to 20 minutes and may address any time period, geographic area, or related theoretical issue. Please submit typed abstracts of 500 or fewer words to the address below or via e-mail to ( by January 4, 2010. Please include your name, address, institutional/departmental affiliation, telephone number, and e-mail address. There is no registration fee for this conference. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact:

Alexander Keim
Department of Archaeology, Boston University
675 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215Visit the Archaeology Department web site at (